MAHOPAC, N.Y. - What’s the secret to a long and happy life?
Just ask Josephine “Dolly” Perricone. Dolly turned 100 years old on Thursday (Jan. 23) and the Koehler Senior Center in Mahopac held a party in her honor where she was surrounded by friends and family members.
Asked what the secret to her longevity was, Dolly didn’t hesitate.
“Vodka,” she said emphatically. “I’ve had one drink a day for the past 20 years!”
“Maybe two,” one of her friends said with a sly grin.
She likes her vodka mixed with tonic but occasionally will have some Sambuca in her coffee instead. She usually has her drink at around 4 in the afternoon. Either way, she stressed that drinking in moderation is one way to go for longevity.
Dolly was born in New York City, the youngest of eight kids, and spent the last four decades living in Florida. Two years ago, she moved up to Mahopac to live with her granddaughter and her family. She said she is fine with the cold winters of the Northeast that came with the move from Florida.
“No, I don’t mind,” she said.
Dolly was born in Manhattan in 1920, and she met her husband, John, there and moved to the Bronx when they got married. They had 56 years together before he passed away. They had two children, Anne and Anthony, who were both at the birthday party last week. Dolly also has five grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
Early in her marriage, Dolly was a stay-at-home mom while her husband had a career as a New York City bus driver. Eventually, Dolly took a job as a salesclerk at Bloomingdales in the city, something she says she enjoyed very much.
It was while working in retail that Dolly developed her flair and sense of style. Friends say she became known for her sweet personality, beautiful clothes, colorful scarves, and jewelry.
Dolly said she loved her life in Florida and still has a home in West Palm Beach that she and her husband purchased when they retired. She was very active in a social club while she lived there. She loved playing cards with friends, as well as cooking and baking.
She created her own “Meals on Wheels” for neighbors and friends who were not feeling well and unable to cook for themselves and delivered the meals personally.
Dolly is also a voracious reader of novels and her favorite author is romance writer Danielle Steel.
Two years ago, she moved to Mahopac to live with her granddaughter Gina, Gina’s husband, Peter, and her daughter, Anne. She takes the bus three times a week to the Koehler Senior Center to hang out with her friends.
“I like all my friends at the Center. They are so caring and nice to spend the day with,” Dolly said. “They always make feel so welcome and comfortable.”
Dolly’s daughter, Anne Mormile, called her mother “amazing” and a “positive person.”
“She loves people,” Anne said. “Growing up in the Bronx, we were a close-knit family and did everything together. They were loving parents. We were just happy.”